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Food and Fun in Downtown Cincinnati: Recommendations for NANT 12 Attendees By: Sue Ludwig

As NANT Conference Co-Chair and Communications Manager Christy Gliniak said last time she was in Cincinnati, “Wow, Cincinnati is serious about good food.” Having lived here all my life, I couldn’t agree more.

While NANT or our Premier Partners will provide most of your meals during the scheduled event, many of you will have Friday after 6pm and/or Saturday evening free. There are endless choices when deciding where to eat downtown, but here are a few of my favorites in no particular order. Also, check out the info on places to walk and explore if you have extra time.

The following restaurants differ in price range and distance from the convention center, so check out online reviews and menus first. Some are within walking distance, others driving/Uber.

And as you would in any city, take care of each other when out and about.


GRAETER’S ICE CREAM – It’s famous for a reason. Trust me. And you can walk there from the hotel in 5 minutes. Bonus.

MITA’S – “An award-winning downtown Cincinnati restaurant featuring inspired Latin American food, tapas & ceviche by chef Jose Salazar.” (I love every single thing they serve.)

LOUVINO OTR– “Culinary Director Tavis Rockwell specializes in reinvented Southern-inspired small plates. Best New Restaurant by Louisville Magazine and “Best Wine Bar in Every State” by Buzzfeed.” (Launch alums – we’re headed here for dinner!)

SOTTO – “Tenacious and restrained, hardcore and heartfelt, we practice the tradition of generations of chefs in an underground hideaway. Our menu is fire, meat, wheat, and above all, Italian.” (The underground setting is super cool, and the food fabulous.)

BAKERSFIELD – “Serving up authentic, Mexican street fare, and a selection of over 100 tequilas and American whiskeys. Bakersfield is a spot where the food is simple, the service is warm and the atmosphere is alive.” (A casual local and out-of-town favorite.)

MAPLEWOOD KITCHEN AND BAR – (Breakfast and Lunch Only – if you arrive early or stay after the event.) “Maplewood, a bright, 150-seat restaurant with white-washed woodwork and expansive windows, offers West Coast-style cuisine, which emphasizes healthier food using local and seasonal ingredients. (Great fresh food choices. Never disappoints.)

NADA Cincinnati – “escape the ordinary” (A fun vibe and great Mexican fare. Our NANT Team and the NPC have enjoyed Nada many times.)

THE BANKS is a fun riverfront section of downtown near Great American Ballpark with great restaurants and winding paths and parks along the Ohio River.

*Every steakhouse is likely delicious. We do those well here, especially if it’s associated with Jeff Ruby.


Findlay Market – “Findlay Market is Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market and one of Cincinnati’s most cherished institutions, welcoming more than one million visitors each year.”

Visit Smale Park for a long walk along the river. You can even walk over the Roebling Suspension Bridge to Kentucky.

Here are some fascinating tours to check out if you arrive early or stay after the event.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Cincinnati Museum Center

I am thrilled to finally bring you, my NANT friends and colleagues, to my hometown, the Queen City, Cincinnati.